Flexibility, value alignment among reasons donors choose CCF

| Kristi Anderson for The Catholic Spirit | April 11, 2013 | 0 Comments
Tom and Danalee Merrill Photo courtesy of CCF

Tom and Danalee Merrill Photo courtesy of CCF

Twenty years ago, the Catholic Community Foundation was founded to financially support the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community. Today, the commitment to serve its donors continues to thrive through well-managed and responsibly invested gifts distributed according to the donor’s values and wishes. Below, three donors share their reasons for choosing CCF as a trusted partner in reaching their philanthropic goals.

Bernie Schmidt
St. Richard, Richfield

Bernie Schmidt took a planned approach to her charitable giving. She established a trust when she retired at age 55, then worked with CCF and her financial adviser to create a charitable fund at CCF in 2011.

“I was a single teacher so I needed to be intentional with money early in my life and in my career,” she said. “I always had values of saving and of giving, and I started both when I began to earn money. As I got older and am now retired, I feel blessed and want to be a good steward of my time and money.”

After Schmidt retired from the Minneapolis public school system, she began to think more about money as a legacy. She created a trust and a living will. In gathering information for that process, she contacted her church, St. Richard in Richfield, about giving options and they referred her to CCF.

“After an informational meeting with CCF, I did some thinking and praying about the process; then I decided to meet with the CCF staff again,” said Schmidt. “I involved my financial planner in that second meeting. I have an open, trusting relationship with that person and wanted his knowledge and insight in the process. Being a single person, it was especially helpful and gave me direction and support in making the decisions.”

Schmidt appreciates that, with her endowment fund at CCF, her gifts can generate earnings that will continue her charitable giving in perpetuity.

“I liked being able to designate which organizations can be the recipients of my funds, both now and after I die,” she said. “While many of the same organizations were named in my trust, now they will be able to receive money over a longer time.”

Tom Merrill
Divine Mercy, Faribault

Tom Merrill and his wife Danalee established a donor-advised fund with CCF with the proceeds from selling their bus company.

“Our business had been such a gift from God,” said Tom Merrill. “The wonderful employees and the relationships we formed in the community made it an easy profession for us. So when we sold it, we wanted to be able to give back and serve others.”

Merrill described the freedom he feels in giving away material gifts.

“Everything is a blessing,” he said. “It just seemed a natural thing for us to invest in the foundation. The beautiful thing about it is you know the ministries are in line with Catholic teachings.”

He said that working with CCF is a “wise thing to do” especially for entrepreneurs who have more than they need and want to give it away.

“From a business perspective,” he said, “when you put resources into a fund, you have no tax liability and you are able to give away more money with the freedom to give to charities of your choice.”

The Merrills are great supporters of their parish and school, as well as NET Ministries, St. Paul’s Outreach and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“There is great joy in being able to give,” Merrill said, “and that is what we are called to do, to be like Christ. Establishing funds at CCF allows us to give without worry.”

“So much of what we do is out of obligation,” he continued, “but using these funds to support Catholic ministries that we believe in means being able to give it away out of love.”

Dave and Laura Hemler
Holy Family, St. Louis Park

Years ago, Dave and Laura Hemler established a fund with another organization but found that their values just weren’t aligning. That is when they decided to create a donor-advised fund with the Catholic Community Foundation.

“With CCF, we are able to choose where our money goes and when we want it to go there,” said Laura. “It removes the worry, knowing that all the charities we are giving to align with our values.”

“We’ve largely given on a year-by-year basis, supporting the St. Paul Seminary, Catholic schools, and other areas of support beyond our local parish,” Dave added. “Long term, we hope to instill that sense of being gifted by God and pass that on to our kids.”

Dave serves on the advisory committee for CCF’s Next Generation initiative, an effort to engage Catholics in their 40s and 50s in the Catholic Community Foundation.

“CCF provides opportunities for donors to get together and hear about the state of the economy, give their take on market trends and foster a sense of giving across generations of family to support a bigger cause,” said Dave.

The Hemlers agree that in addition to the tax benefits, having a donor-advised fund at CCF smoothes out their giving.

“Over the years, our circumstances have changed and the economy is always changing,” Laura said. “This system is consistent and offers us some flexibility. At this time in our lives, we are starting to think about college expenses. With the fund at CCF, we have our charitable money set aside that we can disburse at a later date when we might not have as much to add. This option smooths out giving over time and does not let yearly variations in expenses control our ability to give.”

The Catholic Community Foundation currently manages charitable assets of approximately $210 million. Donors to the foundation are able to choose among a number of fund options to benefit their favorite charities. For more information, visit http://www.ccf-mn.org or call 651-389-0300.

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Category: Catholic Community Foundation